The year 2020 was a challenge for everyone - personally and professionally. The Corona pandemic impacted the year like nothing else. We interviewed our CEO, Michael Goepfarth, for his perspective on the past year with regard to the automation industry and SCIO. We have summarized his impressions for you:
What were the biggest challenges for the automation industry in 2020?
Goepfarth: 2020 was an extremely challenging year for the automation industry: On the one hand, advancing digitization, on the other hand, an emerging crisis in the automotive industry and the associated mechanical engineering industry. In addition to that, the Corona pandemic and its effects were an extreme challenge. Whereas we had to respond very flexible to protect our employees from infections, we also had to cope with logistical challenges on a daily basis. Construction sites had to be closed, we were not allowed into our customers' plants due to Corona, or materials could not be delivered. In this context, 2020 was a day-to-day handling of the chaos that occurred.
What effect has the corona pandemic had on the SCIO Group so far?
Goepfarth: The major impact has certainly been the daily state of not knowing what tomorrow will bring and what to respond to. This situation has led in a six- to nine-month period to psychological stress, increased irritability and it certainly was exhausting. In addition, we have also had delays in some customer projects because we didn't get parts, or because we ended up having to close construction sites for a certain period of time. But altogether, I think we have got through the crisis very well and consider ourselves to be stronger now.
How did SCIO respond to the challenges in the automation industry?
Goepfarth: Through our subsidiary in China, we realized very early on that Corona would become the main challenge in 2020. As early as February, we started implementing various rules, including a very strict hygiene concept and suspicion quarantine well beyond the directives of the Robert Koch Institute (public health institute in Germany). This allowed us to avoid closing entire sites and units for longer periods of time throughout the year. Fortunately, to this date none of our employees has contracted serious secondary illnesses as a result of a Covid 19 infection. Thus, we see ourselves emerging from the crisis somewhat stronger.
As CEO, what are you particularly proud of that SCIO has achieved in the past year?
Goepfarth: I am most proud of the fact that we have continued to grow together despite the challenges and low mobility. We were even able to add new members to the group, further expanding the group. In addition, I am proud of each and every employee because, despite the fundamental health crisis, we managed to sustainably satisfy our customers and, among other things, successfully conclude one of the largest projects in the history of the entire group.